Introduction to Project Planning

Introduction to Project Planning

Planning is a general term that sets a clear roadmap that should be followed to reach a destination. The term, therefore, has been used at different levels to mean different things. Planning involves the breakdown of the project into definable, measurable, and identifiable tasks/activities, and then establishes the logical interdependences among them. 
Generally, planning answers three main questions:
  • What is to be done? 
  • How to do it? 
  • Who does it?
In construction, for example, plans may exist at several levels: corporate strategic plans, pretender plans, pre-contract plans, short-term construction plans, and long-term construction plans. These plans are different from each other; however, all these plans involve four main steps:
  • Performing breakdown of work items involved in the project into activities. 
  • Identifying the proper sequence by which the activities should be executed.
  • Activities representation. 
  • Estimating the resources, time, and cost of individual activities.
Detailed planning for tendering purposes and the preparation of construction needs to be conducted through brainstorming sessions among the planning team. The inputs and outputs of the planning process are shown in Figure 1.
Planning requires a rigorous effort by the planning team. A planner should know the different categories of work and be familiar with the terminology and knowledge used in general practice. Also, the planning team should seek the opinion of experts including actual construction experience. This helps produce a realistic plan and avoids problems later on site.

Project Planning Steps

The following steps may be used as a guideline, or checklist to develop a project plan: 
  • Define the scope of work, method statement, and sequence of work. 
  • Generate the work breakdown structure (WBS) to produce a complete list of activities.
  • Develop the organization breakdown structure (OBS) and link it with work breakdown structure o identify responsibilities.
  • Determine the relationship between activities.
  • Estimate activities time duration, cost expenditure, and resource requirement.
  • Develop the project network.
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